Lou Reed Rising | The Village Voice

“We Never Die.” No “legendary” rock band of the 1960s has proven more legendary than the Velvet Underground. The name alone (before it was abbreviated by fans into “the Velvets”) carried a special resonance, evoking Genet decadence, whip-and-leather s&m, Warhol chic, and European ennui. And even though other urban bands (the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Rascals) were more commercially successful at the time, the best songs of the Velvets (“Sweet Jane,” “Candy Says,” “Waiting for the Man,” “Beginning to See the Light”) have an emotional texture and a sharply defined drive which propel the songs beyond the time in which they were written. Yet when one tries to think of the Velvet Underground photographically, one draws a grainy blur. The great rock stars of the ’60s live vividly in our memories through their photos; one thinks of the Beatles first in their suit-uniforms, then in their glossy Sgt. Pepper outfits, of Hendrix in his black-nimbus Afro and layers of scarves, of countless shots of Jagger pouting and preening and hip-thrusting. Yet the Velvets, except for the imperially lovely Nico, seemed not to occupy visual space at all. Even when one listens to their live albums now, it’s impossible to imagine what they looked like playing their instruments — they don’t come into focus. This shadowiness makes the power of their musicContinue Reading

The top 10 cities for full-time songwriters | DIY Musician Blog

4. Toronto, Canada I recently hung out with one of Toronto’s heads of Government arts funding. Let’s just say she had an annual arts budget comparable to the salary of an NBA superstar. All of that money went to Ontario-based indie artists to release their own albums.  Toronto also has perhaps the highest talent per capita I’ve seen (one man’s opinion). The tolerance for rubbish music in Toronto is low. You’ve got to have the chops to survive and get slots at the decent clubs.  Ontario has a blossoming house concert circuit and vibrant festival scene. Cost of living is high and competition is fierce, but surrounding oneself with this amount of ferocious talent can only up your game. Dine Alone Records is an underground legend in the label world, fostering acts like Heartless Bastards, Delta Spirit, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Field Report, and The Lumineers.  Source: The top 10 cities for full-time songwriters | DIY Musician Blog

10 Tours That Changed the World | SPIN

3. The Beatles U.S. tour, 1965 The Beatles made their second major tour of the States in the summer of 1965, and I was lucky enough to win tickets to one of the shows. It’s the only thing I’ve ever won. I was 14, living in Portland, Oregon, and the concert was at the Memorial Coliseum—a 20,000-seat sports and convention center. There were two, three, maybe four other acts on the bill. Gerry and the Pacemakers? Roy Head? I can’t be sure. So much of that afternoon felt like a fever dream. At a certain point, a small legion of Portland policemen lined up in front of the stage; I counted roughly 200. The house lights went down, but so many flashbulbs were suddenly going off that you could see the Beatles moving through the darkness onstage. As the spotlights came up, the band vaulted into its first number—but to this day, I couldn’t tell you what it was. The truth is, you couldn’t really hear George Harrison’s witty riffs or Ringo Starr’s bumpy tom rolls; you couldn’t distinguish Paul McCartney’s ecstatic croon from John Lennon’s creative howl. All you could hear was the amassed shriek of the audience. It was a full-throated, uncontained, celebratory, and needy cry, and it never relented for the duration of the half-hour show. AtContinue Reading

Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions Are the Coolest Ongoing Experiment in Rock & Roll | GQ

Rancho de la Luna, part of a sprawling compound of outbuildings at the end of a dirt road, is a place you’ll find only if you’re looking for it. On the property, studio owner (and Desert Sessions vet) Dave Catching has established an enchanted zone of digressive, maximalist entropy: cacti and bleached cinder blocks, Christmas lights strewn haphazardly in the chinaberry trees, sculptures fashioned from metal and tin cans rusting in the courtyard. Inside the studio is a blitz of gear, art, ashtrays, stained glass, and books (sample title: Beyond Reason: Art and Psychosis). While in residence, musicians sleep on-site and eat meals communally. “Ideas come in the walk for meals, when you’re not playing—I think the French call it staircase logic, where you’re leaving and you think of the answer when you’re going down the stairs,” says Homme. “And [at] most studios, you don’t take a break to watch the sunset. Or if it rains, go outside and quietly smell the air for a while. I think what it does is it declutters your mind, so all that’s left is a little emptiness, which is where all of a sudden ideas pop out—when they have the room.” Source: Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions Are the Coolest Ongoing Experiment in Rock & Roll | GQ